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A segment interaction analysis of proximal-to-distal sequential segment motion patterns

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 1991


The purpose of this study was to examine the motion-dependent interaction between adjacent lower extremity segments during the actions of kicking and the swing phases of running and walking. This was done to help explain the proximal-to-distal sequential pattern of segment motions typically observed in these activities and to evaluate general biomechanical principles used to explain this motion pattern. High speed film data were collected for four subjects performing each skill. Equations were derived which expressed the interaction between segments in terms of resultant joint moments at the hip and knee and several interactive moments which were functions of gravitational forces or kinematic variables. The angular motion-dependent interaction between the thigh and leg was found to play a significant role in determining the sequential segment motion patterns observed in all three activities. The general nature of this interaction was consistent across all three movements except during phases in which there were large differences in the knee angle. Support was found for the principle of summation of segment speeds, whereas no support was found for the principle of summation of force or for general statements concerning the effect of negative thigh acceleration on positive leg acceleration. The roles played by resultant joint moments in producing the observed segment motion sequences are discussed.

©1991The American College of Sports Medicine